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Finding community that lasts a lifetime

Two good indicators of healthy Christian living are mutual support and genuine care for one another. Such has been the case for four clergy couples who vowed almost 29 years ago to gather once a month for prayer, fellowship, food, and an honest sharing of their lives with each other.

Four clergy couples have met monthly for 28 years. Photo provided by Shepherd of the Valley.

Since meeting on a retreat for clergy couples in 1982, these couples have grown closer and more supportive of each other than they could ever have imagined, according to the Rev. Paul Harrington, pastor emeritus at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church (ELCA), Apple Valley, Minnesota, and interim campus pastor, Luther Seminary, St. Paul. “And, I hope, these monthly meetings will continue for many more years to come,” he added.
Pictured above, from left, are Robert and Susan Hurlbut, Carolyn and Dan Nordine, Margaret and Paul Harrington, and Gloria and Bruce Kjellberg.
The group first began meeting more than 28 years ago, and have gathered in each other’s homes for devotions, sharing, and a potluck ever since. “There is very little we don’t know about each other,” said Harrington. “It is like extended family.”
“There’s been pain, loss, and sorrow in each family, Harington explained. “We have been in the nitty-gritty of each other’s lives.”
One member of the group recently observed, “These montly meetings have enriched our lives and our respective ministries in more ways than we ever thought possible. It is as if the Holy Spirit somehow brought us all together, knowing we needed such a group as this.”

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